Monday, January 18, 2016

"The All-Powerful Unconscious"

Having thought about this issue for some time, an inkling of an insight flashed to mind after hearing a recent analysis of Donald Trump.

Don’t worry.  This story is not about Donald Trump.  It’s about me.

“What a minimally comforting relief.”

Thank you. 

The issue I have been pondering is being exemplified in this very post.  Here’s what I’m talking about.

I completed a post yesterday morning, following a daily routine of close to eight years of blog writing.  Then, feeling sufficiently energized, I started in on another post – specifically, this one – believing that by getting a “jump” on my blogatorial responsibilities – I in fact finished an entire first draft – my work today would reach an earlier conclusion.

“Oh happy day!” I think to myself.  Because I have gotten a head start, my next day’s work will unquestionably go faster.

“Not so fast, Pomerantz.”

The next day arrives, which in this case is today.  I sit down to complete a post I had taken a substantial bite out of the day before.  Let it be stipulated that a typical blog post I am starting from scratch takes about three hours to complete.

How long does it take me to complete this blog post, for which I had already completed a first draft?

Three hours.

I begin working at nine in the morning.  I complete my assignment, and it’s lunchtime.

And I am wondering to myself…

How did that happen?

I had a substantial “leg up” on the work…

And it took the same time to complete as it always does.

It occurs to me that no matter what I do to facilitate matters…

It is always going to take three hours.

And I am thinking to myself…


Okay, so I am recently channel surfing and I alight temporarily on All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.  I had promised myself to avoid cable news shows and had been relatively successful at doing so.  Sometimes, however, I succumb, the reformed cannibal drawn back to the simmering pot.

The subject for discussion is Donald Trump.  Why does he say those terrible things about people?  (This is not the station where such pronouncements are called “What everyone thinks but is afraid to say.”)

Throughout this primary season, MSNBC has evolved in its assessment of Donald Trump:  He’s a joke.  He’s an amateur.  He’s the Herman Cain of 2016.  Then, acknowledging his staying power:  “He does not seem to be going away.”  “He has a constituency that agrees with him.”  “He may well capture the Republican nomination.”

He may well.  And yet it is believed by the professionals that, although Donald Trump says things that make him wildly popular with his “base”, those same pronouncements make it impossible for Trump to expand beyond that base, obliteraing any possibility of his becoming president.  

Why would anyone running for president say things that make it impossible for him to be elected?

Chris Hayes’ latest hypothesis:

Donald Trump – unconsciously or otherwise, doesn’t want to be president. 

He just wants to run.  (Because of the attention, and to make other billionaires jealous.  “Governing?  Are you kidding me?  That takes answers!”)

What you do when you want to run for president but you don’t want to win?  You make pronouncements guaranteeing that you will never be elected.


Who knows?

The thing is, hearing that was an “Aha!” moment of serious proportions.

Not about Donald Trump – because I don’t care about Donald Trump; I just used him to appear current.  It was an “Aha!” moment about me.

The Chris Hayes hypothesis got me pondering a paralleling “Unthinkable” about my work.

That being,

“Maybe I want every post to take three hours to write.”

My reaction to which is,


In both cases, the conclusions seem wacko. 

Who runs for president but doesn’t really want to win?

Who wants their posts to take three hours to write?

Considering possible unconscious motivations – nobody would consciously want these things to take three hours to write – it occurred to me that maybe I am extending the length of my writing time so what I am doing will feel commensurately worthwhile.

Sounds weird, maybe.  But it appears to hold water.  You know, sometimes, when I need to really feel like what I am doing is worthwhile?

It ends up taking five hours.

I’ve got to speak to my unconscious.

It’s not allowed to control things.

Is it?


Wendy M. Grossman said...

It's interesting they all take three hours. The weekly column/blog posting that I've written for the last 14 years varies a lot. Depends on the topic, how much extra research I have to do, how much I already know about the topic, etc. (How many times I've written about it before). I'd be happier if it were predictable like that.


Rebecca said...

I've been saying that about Donald Trump for months. But the fact is, the GOP has become so extremist that almost any candidate would have to end up in the same place, the things they have to say to win the primary would keep them from getting elected in the general.

As far as writing blog posts, I'm not sure if mine all take about the same amount of time, but they do all take way longer than I think they should and I can't figure out why.

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